Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego

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Gaslamp Quarter Historic District
Gaslamp Quarter 01.jpg
Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego is located in San Diego
Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego
Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego is located in San Diego County, California
Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego
Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego is located in California
Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego
Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego is located in the United States
Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego
LocationBounded by RR tracks, Broadway, 4th, and 6th Aves., San Diego, California
Coordinates32°42′42″N 117°9′33″W / 32.71167°N 117.15917°W / 32.71167; -117.15917Coordinates: 32°42′42″N 117°9′33″W / 32.71167°N 117.15917°W / 32.71167; -117.15917
Area38 acres (15 ha)
Architectural styleLate Victorian, Art Deco
NRHP reference No.80000841[1]
SDHL No.127
Significant dates
Added to NRHPMay 23, 1980
Designated SDHLJune 2, 1978[2]

The Gaslamp Quarter is a district of San Diego, California. It is a 16½ block historical neighborhood in Downtown San Diego, and is the site of several entertainment and night life venues, as well as scheduled events and festivals, including Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp, Street Scene Music Festival, Taste of Gaslamp and ShamROCK, a St. Patrick's Day event. Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres is located one block away in downtown San Diego's East Village.

The area is listed as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places as Gaslamp Quarter Historic District. Its main period of development began in 1867, when Alonzo Horton bought the land in hopes of creating a new city center closer to the bay, and chose 5th Avenue as its main street. After a period of urban decay, the neighborhood underwent urban renewal in the 1980s and 1990s.

The Gaslamp Quarter extends from Broadway to Harbor Drive, and from 4th to 6th Avenue, covering 16½ blocks. It includes 94 historic buildings, most of which were constructed in the Victorian Era, and are still in use with active tenants including restaurants, shops and nightclubs.

"Gaslamp District" is the more commonly used name of the neighborhood by local San Diegans, while "Gaslamp Quarter", despite being on the entryway arch and all official city signage and banners, is rarely used by locals. The use of "Gaslamp District" is so pervasive by locals that it has become a shibboleth to determine who is a local San Diegan and who is a tourist.[citation needed]


Corner in the Quarter

When development of the area began in the 1860s, the area currently known as the Gaslamp Quarter was known as New Town, in contrast to Old Town, which was the original Spanish colonial settlement of San Diego. Though Gaslamps were not the main source of lighting in the district, it was chosen as the symbol for the "Gaslamp Quarter" during the redevelopment and preservation efforts that occurred during the 1980s. In actuality, the main source of lighting was arc lighting.[3] Four new gaslamps have been installed at the intersection of Market Street and 5th Avenue.


  • 1850: William Heath Davis bought 160 acres (0.65 km2) in what would eventually become the Gaslamp Quarter. Despite heavy investment from Davis, little development happened in this period.[4]
  • 1867: Real estate developer Alonzo Horton arrived in San Diego and purchased 800 acres (3.2 km2) of land in New Town for $265. Major development began in the Gaslamp Quarter.[5]
  • 1880s to 1900s: Known as the Stingaree, the area was home to many saloons, gambling halls, and bordellos.
  • 1950s-1970s: The decaying Gaslamp Quarter became known as a "Sailor's Entertainment" district, with a high concentration of pornographic theaters, bookshops and massage parlors.
  • 1970: Public interest in preserving buildings downtown started, especially in Gaslamp Quarter.
  • 1976: The city adopted the Gaslamp Quarter Urban Design and Development Manual, aimed at preserving buildings in the area, and the redevelopment of Gaslamp Quarter as a national historic district.
  • 1982: Gaslamp Quarter became the major focus of the redevelopments in downtown by the city of San Diego.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "Historical Landmarks Designated by the San Diego Historical Resources Board" (PDF). City of San Diego.
  3. ^ "Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation". Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  4. ^ "Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation".
  5. ^ "San Diego Historical Society".

External links[edit]